How do you explain that feeling of being broken?
It exists on multiple levels. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Financially. Spiritually.
My mother died on September 22.
There is so much to process. So much that went wrong. So much that I could not control. So much that doesn’t make sense.
There’s the damage from our relationship. From her own damage. How that affected us. And, ultimately, affected me.
And in the past year….Goddess.
I got a new full time job working in hospice. Don’t get me wrong–I love the work that I do. But it is trying in many ways as well. And it’s no fun explaining to families over and over again that there is no free lunch. Sure, hospice services are provided at 100% by Medicare Part A—if you qualify, of course. Most people do when they’re referred to hospice. Some don’t. Regardless, neither Medicare nor hospice will pay room and board. That is always an out of pocket cost, UNLESS you qualify for Medicaid.
And Medicaid? That’s not as straightforward as you would think, either. “I make no money” is not enough to qualify you. And they don’t care what your intentions were. I never intended to have my mother placed in a nursing home. It did not occur to me that a point when come that it would not be safe to have her at home–at least, I didn’t think it would come so soon. I figured that by the time that point came, she’d be close to dying–I would take FMLA and be able to provide her bedside care myself.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That didn’t happen.
But, because she did have some assets–and I was mistaken that some of those were in my name and not hers, as she had told me one of the accounts was now in my name but it wasn’t–she didn’t qualify for Medicaid. Now there’s a bill coming.
So, I’m financially broken. And I don’t want anyone else in my family to take that on.
On top of that, what care I did provide in the home…well, my shoulder is messed up. It’s not terrible, and it’s getting better. I had already strained it last year when I thought I was 16 still and could do lifeguard training again.
But beyond that, it was almost a year ago now that I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had a total thyroidectomy…and honestly, things started to seem brighter after that happened. Oh yes, having cancer is terrifying. I recently admitted a person to hospice with the same diagnosis as mine, but theirs was not found until it was already Stage 4 and had metastasized. My anxiety was initially terrible because I have had an anxiety disorder. But as my hormones leveled out after the surgery, my anxiety actually disappeared. It was gone. I was feeling confident, sure in myself. I had a plan. We were going to make it all work.
Then Mom went downhill.
Plus, don’t forget the financial burden of two surgeries, multiple hospitalizations, and radiation treatment this past year.
More financial breaking.
As all of this year started a year ago, I also had grand plans for my coven. We were going to take on a huge class of neophytes, each initiate was going to be mentor to two people. We were going to train and grow these neophytes with the plan that we would hive as soon as was feasible, for many reasons–not the least of which was that the new class of neophytes are all located in the same general area, and the current initiates are mostly at a distance. Instead of just founding a new coven, we were going to do it “traditionally”–grow and hive.
Except when my world started to implode, as High Priestess, I did not have the time or energy to give to the coven that it needed.
People started to get upset with each other. They stopped trusting each other. Some would reach out, only to get slapped back. Some people stopped showing up to lessons and meetings. Things said were misinterpreted, misunderstood. People had certain expectations that were not met, even though they were never promised. A certain level of competitiveness started. Assumptions started to be made. Rumors started to grow.
And because I was in a world of hurt, not everything was shared with me. And I appreciate that–after all, people need to be able to settle their own differences whenever possible. Except things were only getting worse, not settling.
So when I learned of issues, I stepped in…and got them settled. Or so I thought. Things seemed OK.
Then a new crisis would arise, I would step back…
And issues would start again.
And people started to step up, taking control, scheduling rituals, lessons, meetings, what have you.
Alleviated the burden.
Things seemed OK.
I knew of some concerns that were rising, but opted to wait and see. I was not going to act on hearsay and accusation alone, it wasn’t worth it. And I made the decision–we were going to go ahead and hive. It was too stressful, trying to keep together what was obviously from the start two unique and independent covens, with strong and disparate personalities. I was going to do it after Samhain.
And then it exploded again.
So we hived the same day my mother died.
But the truth is, my spiritual brokenness started before all of this. I have been able to do NOTHING for my own spiritual growth and health for the past year. I haven’t read a book. I haven’t done my own ritual. I’ve barely touched my altar. I haven’t spent more than 5 minutes in nature. I haven’t developed lessons, workshops. My meditations have been lackluster–and not just my own, but even my guided meditations.
There is no joy. There is no connection for me.
I’ve even thought about seriously converting to Catholicism.
I always said if I weren’t Wiccan I’d be Catholic. I LIKE ritual. I like routine. I like community. I like shiny things. Catholicism has those things. And I’m not necessarily diametrically opposed to the Church.
But, I also don’t agree with the bulk of the teachings of Christianity. I cannot accept that Jesus is the only way. I can’t even accept that his death for our sins is so damn important. It feels manipulative, actually. I have to worship you because you did this thing I didn’t ask you to do? I mean, thanks and all, but don’t give me a bill for a service I didn’t ask for. That was all you, kiddo.
So, converting doesn’t solve my problem. I’d still be without joy and connection.
Why did I think it even would?
Maybe because being in a position of leadership has been exhausting. Am I burned out? There’s a good chance of it. Being a member of a church instead of the leader of a coven is certainly less responsibility.
And maybe because I feel wracked with guilt. I need forgiveness. And Christianity has a lot to say about forgiveness. In Wicca, that forgiveness has to come from within. But I am not feeling capable of doing that, so there is a part of me looking from it from elsewhere.
Though outside forgiveness means nothing if I can’t internalize it.
But still, there’s no joy.
I didn’t want to do Samhain. I don’t want to do any more ritual. I don’t want to do it.
And maybe it’s my grief.
Maybe I just need to give it more time.